On Tuesday, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey testified before the Senate subcommittee on aviation about the financial health of the agency, specifically the FY 2007 budget and condition of the aviation trust fund.
Federal Aviation Administration
The National Association of State Aviation Officials is asking Congress to “say no” to the FAA’s 2007 budget proposals. According to NASAO, “All of the states and thousands of airports across the nation will suffer if the administration is allowed to slash nearly a billion dollars out of the already authorized $3.7 billion Airport Improvement Program.” The FAA is requesting $2.75 billion for airport improvements.
Testifying recently before the House aviation subcommittee on unmanned aircraft (UA), FAA associate administrator for aviation safety Nicholas Sabatini outlined the challenges of integrating UAs into the National Airspace System. Sabatini explained that operations of UAs are currently approved under two means–certificates of authorization (COA) for government agencies and experimental airworthiness certificates for private industry.
While the FAA did rescind Notice N8000.336 regarding addition of airplanes to Part 135 certificates, on December 18 it reissued the notice in a new form with only one change. Like N8000.336, Notice N8000.343 requires FAA principal inspectors to obtain concurrence from FAA headquarters before allowing an operator to add a new turbine-powered airplane to its OpSpecs.
Commercial pilots and air traffic controllers who have English as a second language, as well as native speakers of English, are needed to participate in a test designed to measure spoken-English ability common in ATC/pilot radio communications internationally.
As president and CEO, Stuart Matthews has been the face of the Flight Safety Foundation for the past 13 years. In October, he retired and handed the reins to William Voss, former director of air navigation for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
A spate of crashes that led the FAA to propose mandatory pilot training requirements for the Mitsubishi MU-2 galvanized Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) into action. Representing constituents Jim and Linda Presba, whose son was killed in a Dec. 10, 2004, MU-2 crash near Centennial, Colo., Tancredo launched an effort to force the FAA to ground the MU-2.
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey stonewalled the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) in new contract talks, declaring an impasse on April 5 and unilaterally imposing a new contract on June 5. The actions came after nine months of negotiations with the union that the agency claimed cost taxpayers $2.3 million.
Industry groups, including NBAA, were working with the FAA late last year to get it to ease requirements on two issues that carried a January deadline.
The FAA has released an NPRM for FAR Part 145 repair stations that proposes revising the established rating system to eliminate the current class system in lieu of more general ratings such as “airplane.” In addition, it would require all Part 145 repair stations to implement an expanded quality- assurance program, citing its criticality to “maintaining safety.” The FAA estimates that developing the program at a small repair station would cost